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Srinagar, Oct 15 (IANS) Police foiled the march of over 500 Jammu and Kashmir government employees towards the civil secretariat here Monday and arrested some of their leaders. The employees were demanding enhancement of retirement age, salary arears and regularisation of services of ad-hoc workers.
The joint consultative committee (JCC) of the state government employees had announced the 'gherao' (protest sit-in and blockade) of the civil secretariat to press for the implementation of their demands.
The police foiled the employees' march and took some of their leaders into preventive custody to maintain law and order, an official said.
The demands of the employees include raising their retirement age from the existing 58 years to 60 years to bring it at par with that of the central government employees.
The other demands are for regularisation of services of daily wage and ad-hoc employees working in various government departments and payment of arrears as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while agreeing to consider the demands of the employees has said the enhancement in the their retirement age would adversely affect the employment chances of the unemployed youths in the state.
The chief minister recently said that it is a big challenge for his government to find employment for over six lakh unemployed educated youths in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a rally of the protesting employees in Srinagar, Abdul Qayoom Wani, leader of the employees' union, said Monday: "It is incorrect to say that the enhancement in the existing retirement age would affect the employment chances of the educated unemployed youths in the state."
Khurshid Alam, another leader of the employees, told the rally: "If the chief secretary of the state can serve up to 60 years why can't the poor peon who has to serve a cup of tea to the chief secretary in the office?"
The employees' agitation, however, had no effect on the functioning of the civil secretariat which houses the offices of the chief minister, council of ministers and all senior bureaucrats of the state.